SAMPLE CHAPTER FROM THE BOOK LIVING WITH THE DOMINATOR BY PAT CRAVEN

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1 2 THE DOMINATOR In Britain 112 women a year are killed by a male partner or former partner. (Home Office 2007) In Britain 22 men a year are killed by a female partner or former partner. (Home Office 2007) The majority of women who kill their partners have been subjected to prolonged and severe violence. From the available statistics it is clear that in the majority of cases the perpetrators of domestic abuse are men and the majority of victims are women. The next question to ask is, why do they do this? When we women are on the receiving end of violence and abuse we often ask ourselves this question. We also try to answer it. Perpetrators tell us and we believe, that the violence was caused by drink, stress, unemployment, overwork, low self-esteem or insecurity. Many of the professionals we meet also accept these explanations. The reality is that these are all excuses. They may have been drunk when they hit us but they didn t usually hit anyone else. Being insecure doesn t make people violent. Why should it? The real reason for their violence and abuse is the desire to keep women under control. They do not need to use violence every day. Some abusive men never need to use it at all, because they can control us by using other tactics. They will usually use violence when they believe the other tactics are failing. Some women can also use many of the controlling and abusive tactics of the Dominator. The difference is that in the case of abusive men they are more likely to use violence when they believe the tactics of control are failing. As a result, a woman is murdered every three days. Some of the tactics used to achieve power and control are depicted now in the analysis of the Dominator. In this chapter we will have a brief look at some of these tactics and will return later to examine them all in greater detail.

2 The Dominator was inspired by the Duluth Domestic Violence Intervention Project in Minnesota. He is one man but I describe him as changing into the other characters to use different kinds of controlling behaviour. He can change from one character to another with lightning speed. Often, when I show him to women on the programme they say, You must have met my husband! I joke that I believe that all abusive men are abducted when they are six months old and taken to a school in the mountains where they all learn to do and say exactly the same thing! One of the first people I trained to run the Freedom Programme was a specialist Domestic Violence Police Officer. When she started her programme her group was comprised of women whose abusers had been arrested and charged by her. She had also accompanied the women to court and knew their histories. One of the women looked at her picture of the Dominator and then compared it to everyone else s Dominator. She said that it was so like her partner that she initially believed each one had been done for an individual man from their police records and case histories. The Bully He uses intimidation to control his partner by: shouting, glaring, sulking, driving too fast and firing questions at her without giving her a chance to answer. As a result, she believes he is angry and tries to placate him. The men on my Programme have told me that the Bully is not angry. He is cool, calm and collected and completely in control of his emotions. What does he have to be angry about? The Headworker He uses emotional abuse to control his partner by telling her she is stupid, ugly, and incompetent. He is unfaithful and he puts her down in front of others, usually using humour. As a result she loses all self-confidence. The Jailer He isolates his partner by sulking when her friends visit. He refuses to look after the children when she has arranged to go out or go to work. He charms friends and family so they do not believe her. He moves her to remote places. As a result women are completely isolated. 10

3 THE DOMINATOR IS HIS NAME CONTROLLING WOMEN IS HIS GAME THE SEXUAL CONTROLLER Rapes you. Won t accept no for an answer. Keeps you pregnant OR Rejects your advances. THE BULLY Glares. Shouts. Smashes things. Sulks. KING OF THE CASTLE Treats you as a servant/slave. Says women are for sex, cooking and housework. Expects sex on demand. Controls all the money. THE JAILER Stops you from working and seeing friends. Tells you what to wear. Keeps you in the house. Seduces your friends/family. THE BADFATHER Says you are a bad mother. Turns the children against you. Uses access to harass you. Threatens to take the children away. Persuades you to have his baby, and then refuses to help you care for it. THE LIAR Denies any abuse. Says it was only a slap. Blames drink, drugs, stress, over-work, you, unemployment etc. THE PERSUADER Threatens to hurt or kill you or the children. Cries. Says he loves you. Threatens to kill himself. Threatens to report you to Social Services, DSS etc. THE HEADWORKER Puts you down. Tells you you re too fat, too thin, ugly, stupid, useless etc. 11

4 The Liar He makes the abuse seem less than it was by using the only word. For example, it was only a slap. When the only word is used the listener does not really hear the rest of the sentence. He also denies there was any abuse or he blames the victim. Many men come to the programme asking me to help them to deal with this horrible woman who forces them to be violent. The Liar also uses a bewildering array of excuses. He blames drink, drugs, overwork and unemployment. He blames loss of temper, low self-esteem and insecurity. As a result his victim and many other professionals believe him.. The Badfather He uses the children to control his partner. He turns them against their mother. If she leaves him he uses the courts to harass her for access. He denies paternity and tells her she is a bad mother. As a result women can have their children removed. He can seriously damage their ability to parent effectively. The King of the Castle He controls his partner by treating her like a servant and expecting her to do all the dirty, menial jobs. He controls the money and makes all the major decisions. As a result, women can come to believe they are second-class citizens. The men on the first programme I ran used to say that women are for CFCs. Cooking, fucking and cleaning. Since then I have also heard WIFE. Washing, ironing, fucking etc. 12

5 The Sexual Controller He uses sex to control his partner. He refuses sex, demands sex, and rapes her. As a result women feel dirty and used and unable to stand up to him. The Persuader This persona comes into play if his partner has left the relationship or reported him to the police. He uses coercion or threats to persuade or frighten her into resuming the relationship. He wheedles his way back into the relationship by threatening suicide, crying and saying he has nowhere to go. He threatens to hurt the pets. As a result women have him back and drop charges. These tactics can also be used in same sex relationships. Therefore the Dominator can be an abusive gay woman or an abusive gay man. Why does the Dominator want to control women? The behaviour of the Dominator is based upon his beliefs. This applies to everyone. All our actions are motivated by our beliefs. They are the engines which drive our behaviour. We often do not actually know what we believe. If we think about our beliefs at all we see them as facts. The Dominator holds hundreds of beliefs which allow him to abuse us. Many of them contradict each other. This is known as cognitive dissonance. 13

6 The Dominator gets these beliefs from whichever society he lives in. He is not a deviant but a product of his society. He is universal as all abusive men share his beliefs and use his tactics. The origins of his beliefs and the social reinforcements may differ between societies but his beliefs remain fundamentally the same. In this book we will be mainly looking at the ways British culture and history have influenced the beliefs of the Dominator and all who live alongside him. However, if you come from a different culture you can use the same approach to make parallel observations about the ways in which your culture influences abusive men. Women also live in the same society as the Dominator. We are therefore subject to the same conditioning. We may also hold many of the beliefs of the Dominator without being aware of it. During the course of this book I will list the tactics and beliefs of each aspect of the Dominator. I will add which beliefs we women may share. I have gained this information from the hundreds of women survivors and male perpetrators I have worked with over the last nine years. Every anecdote I use comes from several men or women. I have not recounted any information, which comes from only one person. We come to a very important point. Many women like men and want to have relationships with them. If we believe that all men are bastards we may stay with the one we have got. We may also hold the belief that the behaviour of the Dominator is normal. Many of us have sons and would like to help them to grow into non-abusive men. Therefore, before we continue with our exploration into the Dominator we will now meet a non-abusive man. He is Mr. Right. 14

7 NOT A SAINT THAT WE ARE SEEING JUST A DECENT HUMAN BEING THE LOVER Shows you physical affection without assuming it will lead to sex. Accepts your right to say no to sex. Shares responsibility for contraception etc. THE FRIEND Talks to you. Listens to you. Is a companion. Has a sense of humour. Is cheerful. THE PARTNER Does his share of the housework. Shares financial responsibility. Treats you as an equal. THE LIBERATOR Welcomes your friends and family. Encourages you to have outside interests. Encourages you to develop your skills at work or at college.. THE GOODFATHER Is a responsible parent. Is an equal parent. Supports your dealings with the children. THE TRUTHTELLER Accepts responsibility. Admits to being wrong. THE NEGOTIATOR Takes responsibility for his own well-being and happiness. Behaves like a reasonable human being. THE CONFIDENCE BOOSTER Says you look good. Values your opinions. Supports your ambitions. Says you are competent. Values you. 15

8 Mr. Right is an example of a non-abusive human being. However, the characteristics of Mr. Right could be attributed to either sex. Mr. Right is a blueprint for a reasonable friend or partner or parent. In this book I devote a chapter to each aspect of the Dominator. I will finish each chapter with a study of the non abusive counterpart of that character. I will present a picture of an aspect of Mr. Right who is a non - abusive man. For example, if I devote a chapter to the Bully, I will finish with The Friend. 16

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